So what is the smallest ski hill in Colorado? Sunlight, Wolf Pass, maybe Echo Mountain? No, that distinction goes to Frisco Adventure Park in Summit Country, Colorado. As someone who always likes to ski the small hills, I knew I had to check it out on my trip to the “mega resorts” in Colorado during the Spring of 2011. What I found was a fun diversion and a very “locals” place. I am sure many of us would like to see more of these little hills around the country.
Frisco, Colorado, a forward thinking town in Summit County, has established the ski hill as part of its year-round adventure park. If you have been to Breckenridge or Cooper Mountain you have probably been to Frisco or at least through it and not known it. It is located right off I-70 west of the Loveland Pass. It is well known as the home to the only Wal-Mart in the high country and lots of outlet mall shopping. But Frisco is much more than retail. It is quaint town with a nice main street and real natural beauty. The Adventure Park is a way to get folks to stay and play as opposed to shop and pass through.
The park has multi-lane tubing, a small ski hill, and a freestyle terrain park. The terrain park and ski hill are designed for beginner to intermediate skill levels.
It was a beautiful day when we stopped by. High winds and cold temperatures had driven my sons and I away from the slopes at Breckenridge, but at Frisco the winds were calm and the air was warmer. We were excited to try out the tubing hill and the ski hill. The tubing hill measures 600 feet in length and has 5 lanes. As is typical, some lanes are faster and longer than others. The hill is served by a magic carpet that is used by both skiers and tubers. The park has two snowmaking machines to maintain an adequate snow base throughout the season and a snowcat to groom the lanes. The Frisco Adventure Park tries to under price the tubing parks at Keystone and Copper to give it a business edge. Frisco is also open later into the night than those parks. Tubing at the mega resorts is more of an apres ski thing, while here it is more of a destination for locals and visitors not staying at the larger resorts.
We had fun tubing, although after an hour we had had enough. I have found with my kids that the “idea” of tubing is always more fun than actually tubing. My oldest wanted to try out the ski hill / terrain park and put his skis on. The park has a small rise and several hits, rails and kickers. I am sure it is well used by the local boarding crowd, although it could probably use a half pipe and a rope tow to make it more fun. But it was fun and the snow was excellent.
Frisco Adventure Park is also co-located with the Frisco Nordic Center. The Nordic Center offers several miles of cross country trails on the shores of Lake Dillon. The Nordic Center also operates the Two Below Zero Dinner sleigh rides, offering dinner packages. It was pretty cool to see the horses from the ski hill. During the summer months the Adventure Park features a bike park, a skate park and several miles of hiking/biking trails.
All in all it made for a fun day. How many other people have skied the highest lift-served terrain in the country at Breckenridge and then skied what is probably the lowest at Frisco? They were both fun in their own way.
Robbie Allen is an avid small hill skier. He has written several articles on the many small hills he has sought out.
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